As Zelenskyy arrives in London, Britain prepares to increase ‘lethal aid’ for Ukraine

(LONDON) — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy arrived in London on Wednesday to address Parliament and meet with the prime minster, as the United Kingdom “steps up” its deliveries of “lethal aid.”

The visit is Zelenkyy’s second known international trip since the Russian invasion began almost a year ago. The trip will underscore the United Kingdom’s “unbreakable friendship” with Ukraine, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said in a statement.

Zelenskyy is also scheduled to meet with King Charles at Buckingham Palace on Wednesday.

Zelenskyy and Sunak are expected to discuss what the United Kingdom’s described as its “two-pronged” approach to aiding Ukraine, which includes a “surge” in the supply of military equipment and long-term support with training for troops.

Downing Street announced the surprise visit on Wednesday morning, saying it comes as the United Kingdom expands it training for Ukrainian armed forces.

“As part of today’s talks, the Prime Minister will offer to bolster the UK’s training offer for Ukrainian troops, including expanding it to fighter jet pilots to ensure Ukraine can defend its skies well into the future,” U.K. officials said in a statement.

About 10,000 Ukrainian troops have been trained in the United Kingdom in the last six months, officials said. More than 20,000 additional troops are expected to be trained this year.

British officials said they expect the program to continue scaling throughout the year. Zelenskyy on Wednesday plans to meet with U.K. defense officials to discuss the training.

“I am proud that today we will expand that training from soldiers to marines and fighter jet pilots, ensuring Ukraine has a military able to defend its interests well into the future,” Sunak said in a statement ahead of the visit.

British officials said they planned on Wednesday to also announce further sanctions in response to Russia’s invasion. The sanctions will target people who’ve helped Russian President Vladimir Putin build personal wealth, along with “companies who are profiting from the Kremlin’s war machine,” officials said.

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